Why court freed man charged with killing his wife in Trans Nzoia

Nabwile's lifeless body was found in an abandoned pit latrine

In Summary
  • Nabwile was last seen on May 7, 2017 after a life changing church service.
  • Her lifeless body was to later be discovered at an abandoned pit latrine within her home area on  May 8.
High Court Judge Antony Mrima.
High Court Judge Antony Mrima.

The family of a woman murdered in a village in Trans Nzoia county may never know her killers after her husband who was charged with her murder was absolved from any wrongdoing.

Maxwell Barasa Muleme was set free by Justice Anthony Mrima after the court found that the elements relied on in criminal cases to secure his conviction were not fully met.

For there to be a conviction, the judge said the prosecution must first prove death occurred, that the accused committed the unlawful act which caused the death of the deceased, and that the accused had desired to kill his wife.

In this case, the death of Metrin Nabwile Masinde was not in doubt.

Several witnesses vouched that they saw her body lying at an abandoned pit latrine.

There was also a post-mortem report that was produced in court as evidence.

The report said the cause of death was severe haemorrhage secondary to stab wound on the neck due to severe assault.

On this element, the court found and held that the death and its cause were proved to the required standard.

Barasa was the husband of Nabwile. He had another wife Metrine Muyoka Barasa whom they were jointly charged with the murder of Nabwile in 2017.

Nabwile was last seen on May 7, 2017, after a life changing church service. Her body was discovered at an abandoned pit latrine within her home area on May 8.

There was no eye-witness account on what exactly happened. On the day she went missing, one of her sons looked for her at Muyoka’s house only to be met with hostility. He was chased away.

The prosecution called 11 witnesses to establish that the accused jointly murdered the deceased. The prosecution’s case was that Barasa is the husband of both the deceased and the second accused.

But Justice Mrima in setting them free said the prosecution failed to prove that any of the accused was responsible for the death of the deceased in any way whatsoever.

The officer who investigated the case concluded that she was murdered in her house and the body moved through the window and dumped into the abandoned pit latrine.

According to him, the only evidence that connected the accused with the death was that there were footprints which ran from the house of the accused, to the house of the deceased and then to the pit latrine where the body of the deceased was recovered.

At the same time, the officer admitted that he did not know whose footprints they were and also agreed that many people had taken part in searching for the deceased and had moved within and outside the home of the deceased and the accused.

“From this court’s perspective, I think, it will require extremely advanced investigations to connect an accused with some footsteps especially where no witness attests positively to seeing the accused walk around where the footprints were found, and in circumstances where many people had the opportunity of walking around that area,” Mrima said.

Based on that reasoning, the court said it was not persuaded that the crime was committed by the accused.

“Therefore, whereas there may be some suspicion that the accused may have been involved in the death, that suspicion alone, however strong, cannot form a basis of conviction in a criminal case. It remains the cardinal duty of the prosecution to prove every element of the offence,” Mrima said.

“Having found that there is no evidence that the accused killed the deceased, this court returns the verdict that the accused are found not guilty of the murder of the deceased,” added the judge.

The court subsequently ordered that the two be set free.  

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